Back in 2006, I moved to the Bristol area as I looked to end my Army Career.
I had been a Biker for years and knew the motorcycle community is a vibrant, supportive group that brings together anyone who loves bikes as much as I do. It has been especially hospitable to veterans seeking healthy outlets to combat PTSD or other mental-health symptoms related to their time in the military. Experts in the military and medical fields agree that activities like motorcycle-riding can at least temporarily help veterans dealing with PTSD.
I was excited by the promise and opportunity that the fast growing Bristol motorcycle scene and culture had to offer. However, whilst I saw plenty of people riding, everything felt disconnected and impersonal, lacking in closeness but most importantly a social spot. Certainly we have three big motorcycle dealerships (that have their own cafes), as well as two motorcycle apparel shops. But we wanted so much more!
Whilst I didn’t leave the military at that time I did stay in the area and make Bristol my home. In the years since I have been heavily involved in the motorcycle scene in Bristol, organising four large motorcycle events per year to help bring this community together. In this time I have met so many great and fascinating people, and I would say it’s true that biking does seem to bring the artist out of you.
And through all of this I have met many local veterans who have also returned or settled in the area, again a group of highly versatile people.
It has been since I left the military that I have tried to do more. I have got involved with veteran support groups, mental health support groups, and a vast array of veteran motorcycle groups.
I have met artists, sculptors, tailors, engravers, photographers, and so much more. A lot of time these are tied by a motorcycle theme in their work or simply that they love to ride and love that lifestyle, that ethos, that camaraderie. But these are a lot of small time local artists who do this for the love of it, around family, around work, around life. Most of us have not had the time, patience, and most importantly the funding to take this any further.
What Cold Steel Cafe looks to do is become that local social common place! Where people from all walks of life come together to share their passion for two-wheels, whether they ride a motorcycle of not. Somewhere that we can pull all these great artists together, somewhere they can come and showcase their work. A gallery, a museum, a garage, a workshop, a showroom, a store, and most importantly a sociable cafe/bar.
All whilst providing a unique approach to providing support to Military Veterans across the area to have a stable social hub for ex-servicemen and the local community to come together, to showcase their talents, learn new skills, and receive the support and advice that is available to them. A facility that can serve as a venue for unique events where all visitors leave their differences at the door to enjoy an inclusive, welcoming diverse moto-culture space.